Micah Richards has slammed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s for Man Utd’s “cop-out” performance in the 2-1 defeat to Champions League debutants Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday.
United travelled to Turkey to take on the competition first-timers, who had lost both of their previous matches in Group H.
But Solskjaer’s side come away with nothing after goals from ex-Chelsea striker Demba Ba and Edin Visca proved to be enough to earn the hosts all three points.
Anthony Martial had pulled a goal back before half-time to give United some hope, but they failed to find an equaliser.
Solskjaer had discussed prior to the game that it would be a “difficult” test for his players, but TV pundit Richards has criticised that mentality.
“That was a cop out that game,” Richards blasted on CBS Sports . “I like Solskjaer and I’ve protected him, I believed he was the right man for Man Utd, but to say to go to Istanbul and it’s a hard place to go – but there’s no fans in the stadium, 350 fans.
“We talk about Man Utd, we keep saying they’re a massive club – which they are – but they shouldn’t be going to Istanbul with fear.
“That’s excuses for me.”
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United’s positional set-up for Basaksehir’s opener will be of particular concern to Solskjaer, as a long ball over the top in just the 12th minute found Ba all on his own unmarked on the halfway line.
The defeat comes just days after United’s lacklustre showing against rivals Arsenal – which left them with just seven points from a possible 18 in the Premier League – and a month since the humiliating 6-1 thumping by Tottenham.
In fairness to Solskjaer, the United boss refused to defend his team’s performance in Turkey.
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Speaking after the match, he said: “The performance wasn’t good enough.
“The first goal, we played a short corner and forgot about the man up top – that’s unforgivable.
“The second one, we weren’t very well organised to counter press and win the ball back when we were defending.
“It has set us back a lot, of course it has. You get a reality check every time you play a football game. You don’t just turn up and get three points in the Champions League.
“It’s not easy to be positive when we’ve lost the way we did. But we have a chance to get going again on Saturday.”